Shackles of Time

Shackles of Time

The Hosteller’s Tryst with Curfew


By Trishla Verma, Batch of 2020

We hold our heads high in pride and look at the saffron,  green, and white, with gratitude for all our countrymen’s noble sacrifices in our hearts. On the glorious day of August 15, a billion Indians unite to celebrate their birthright: independence. On the other hand,  as we return to our hostels, rushing so we don’t have to pay any fines or face the warden’s wrath as the curfew is approaching, a very natural question arises: are we truly independent?

Restricting who students can roam with, when they can return to the rooms that they paid for, their personal celebrations – how is the institution whose aim is to turn us into responsible, skilled and independent citizens doing its job? Turning away students at the gates of their hostels because they were a couple of minutes late is not only absurd but highly irresponsible and unsafe for individuals, especially girls who live far away and might not have a way to commute to their homes. The only other alternative for them is to pay a hefty fine and their parents to receive a call from the warden informing that their over-18-year-old son or daughter was a few minutes late since they were held up by traffic or their own duties on the campus. It is high time that the hostel authorities all over the country realize that the student who will soon be entering into the corporate phase of his life, or maybe go abroad soon all alone, or might have a ton of responsibilities at the present moment, should be trusted enough to at least not have the ticking clock over his head as he works on a project in the library.

Recently, the girls of DTU protested to introduce gender parity in the hostel curfew timings for boys and girls. Instead of confining someone to the four walls of safety, why not attack the source and make the environment safe? Their argument was well-received and as a welcome move by the Delhi Commission of Women, the timings have now been equalised and the curfew for the girl’s hostel has been extended to match those of the boys. In NSIT, while the curfew for the boys stands at a decent 11:30 PM, that of girls is just 9:30 PM. This sheer discrimination in the name of security is ridiculous. Why is it that for the basic right to independence and equality, a busy engineering student has to take out time to sketch out slogans, gather supporters, prepare posters and protest? Is it really in the spirit of independence or even sensibility, for notices to come out for girls (who are adults with free will) not to roam with the opposite sex or not to celebrate their birthdays in the vicinity of their own hostel room?  The authorities reason out their moves with words like ‘discipline’ and ‘safety’. I fail to understand how sending a student home at night alone is even remotely safe.

It is time to make our voices heard and get what is ours, what belongs to us as citizens of our motherland. As we rise towards our independence, let’s take a moment and salute our great nation. Today, our country turns 70 and what characterizes it is its ability to find unity in diversity, to defend, offend, be offended, struggle and yet survive through it all, coming out stronger than ever. We are, therefore India is. Jai Hind.